On The Atlantic, Roy Klabin tags along with "Carlo," a drug dealer, around New York's Upper West Side. Roy looks at what it is like to work a day in the "black-market economy," following Carlo as he sells some of the purest narcotics available to clients that range from "NYU students, lawyers, artists, bankers, and a college professorall ordering drugs to their apartments as casually as if it were Chinese food."
Carlo has been dealing for almost 15 years. He sells marijuana, cocaine, ketamine, and magic mushrooms, but his most-prized asset is his connection to a Canadian MDMA distributor. Over the years, their working relationship has grown into a friendship, but even now Carlo isnt sure how the drugs actually make it across the border. He doesnt care to ask. He sells a portion of his monthly stash to other dealers for a quick turnaround, but he likes to maintain a direct connection to his favorite clientsaround 200 regular customers. Carlo claims he never dilutes his MDMA. The best way to distinguish himself in a competitive, chaotic marketand maintain the luxury of selecting clientsis to be pure and consistent.
At one residence, a businessman in his 40s opened the door, still dressed for the office in a suit and silk tie, still, by phone, issuing stern instructions to one of his colleagues. He held the phone to one ear while he winked and grinned at Carlo, then reached out to shake his hand. The man led us into the foyer and waved his hand toward the kitchen to indicate that we should make ourselves comfortable. Based on the decorations and the pictures on the wall, he appeared to have a wife and at least two children.
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